Thursday, July 17, 2008

Science of wrinkles and religion

I must say that posting stories for this blog is really introducing me to much diverse examples of science & religion issues. Here is a case in point: What kind of products are ok for wrinkle treatments? Apparently, Botox is fine. However, there is now a new product called Evolence that is making things more complicated:
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved Evolence, from OrthoNeutrogena, a part of Johnson & Johnson, as an injectable material to treat facial wrinkles. Evolence, made in Israel, is made by extracting, purifying and stabilizing collagen from the tendons of food-grade pigs.
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Evolence, unlike antiwrinkle shots made using cow collagen, does not require an allergy test. But here’s the wrinkle: are swine shots kosher?

A-ha! Good question. I guess as long as any of that material does not leak into your bloodstream, you are ok. It appears that it may be alright in any case:

Judaism prohibits eating pig products. But other uses of porcine material — like tossing around footballs — are permitted, said Rabbi Edward I. Reichman, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Dr. Reichman added that porcine beauty shots per se would not violate Jewish dietary laws. But such injections could provide fodder for an ongoing debate about whether Jews are permitted to take health risks for cosmetic procedures.

What about for Muslims? After all, pig-related issues are one of those few things that Muslims and Jews usually agree about. So is Evolence halal?

Islam can sometimes be tolerant of cosmetic surgery but prohibitive when it comes to porcine products, said Abdulaziz Sachedina, a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

“In the Middle East, even men go for the fixing of the nose,” he said. “That is allowed.”

But Shariah, Islamic law, forbids the use of any kind of porcine product, ingested or otherwise, unless it is medically necessary, he said.

The medical exception is/(will be) specially important for debates over xenotransplantation. And as for wrinkles, it is down to botox for Muslims. Read the full article here.